Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Energy Efficient Hot Water Heaters w/ Gulf Power Rebates!

Hybrid Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters
Bringing you the latest technology (and rebates) to save you money.

Is your hot water heater causing your energy bill to rise?
Did you know: The second biggest energy gobbler (our air conditioner is #1) in our homes is our water heater!  Most of these heaters run on electricity (some of course are heated by gas) and use large amounts of energy. Many are extremely inefficient due to iron and other minerals that build up in the unit over time that ruin the ability of this device to properly heat our water. The aluminum elements corrode over time further adding to the problem. Most homeowners are not aware of this problem.
The good news is they have just developed a solution to this problem! After years of research, your local Lowes and other home improvement stores are now carrying hybrid heat pumps.  These devices will replace your current aging/inefficient electric water heater with no loss of hot water! The units are costly but the good news is they are @ 62% more efficient!  If you have an older water heater, this new hybrid model is something to strongly consider.
Energy Rebates from Gulf Power
Gulf Power Co. (see details on their website under Earth Cents) is currently offering a $700 rebate for a limited time on this outstanding energy efficient alternative! These 50 gallon units are suitable for most homes but must be in open air spaces such as washrooms or your garage. A heat pump is attached to the top of the tank does the heating and uses far less energy.

My experience with my new Hybrid Hot Water Heater
My brother in law Fred standing with Robby the Robot
Since my water heater was approximately 10 years old, I decided to purchase a GE hybrid from Lowes. When we removed the old unit (which appeared to be in good condition) we discovered it was in horrible shape and a real hazard. Water heaters can last for over 15 years depending on how they are maintained (I now understand they should be drained each year to eliminate sediment buildup).
When we cut the old hot water heater open, it was over ½ full of sediment/rust!! The elements inside were corroded and caked with minerals. I was really disgusted that my family had been using water from this unit! There is no way to know the interior condition of these devices unit they are removed and cut open. I am certain most homeowners aren’t aware of this issue that this condition can not only affect their pocket books each month but may not be healthy either.

I did a lot of research about the rebate and was careful to have the unit professionally installed. It may require some minor modifications to accommodate the size/shape of the new unit. I changed the flexible copper supply hoses and valve but it’s not always necessary. The new unit (I call it Robby the Robot) as the top of the unit is black and has a computer panel built in and sorta looks like a robot. 
After installing the new hybrid, I was very pleased that it provided hot water (seemed hotter than before) and the water felt “softer”.  The heat pump atop the unit does make a noise (similar to that from your refrigerator) as it comes on and off to heat the water but it’s certainly not an issue in the garage and actually blows cold air across the grill elements mounted in the top housing (free a/c)!
The bottom line is: my total cost (after the $700 rebate) was around $450. (the unit costs @ $1195.and there are 2-3 mfgs and models available) plus installation. It can be installed by the homeowner but you should be very proficient at electrical and plumbing work or call a professional to ensure it’s installed correctly and not damage this expensive unit.  A normal replacement electric water heater costs approximately $250-300. so in my mind it was well worth the investment!

I am very upbeat about this new technology and glad I made the switch! I actually purchased a 2nd unit and installed it in my sister’s home. The rebate won’t last long so I would encourage every homeowner to evaluate their unit and see if this hybrid is best for you!
For more energy saving tips, check out this thorough booklet offered by the US Dept. of Energy.

Until next time, 

Bob Supinger, Realtor ~ (850) 207-0912
Realty Masters of FL ~ # 1 in Pensacola Property Management and Pensacola Rentals!
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503~ call us at (850) 473 3983
Visit our website for 35 rentals ~ Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest

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